Monday, August 5, 2013

Odd Ray Lankford

Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out some of the things that Topps puts for sale on the Topps Vault auctions.  It's fun to look at and obviously some of the stuff on there is cool to scout out.  I'd like to buy one of those Topps Player Contracts and hang it on the wall of my man cave, but there are also plenty of odds and ends too.  I am always amazed at the number of proof items they have up for auction.  Slides of players, sample photos, sample cards, blank back proofs, blank front proofs.  With all of those rough drafts and edits flying around you would think that Topps would make a few less errors.  

I actually already own a few cool proof cards, which might be worthy of a post at some point soon, and recently saw a proof which I could not pass up for less than $5 delivered.  

1999 Topps Gallery Ray Lankford Private Player Issue Proof 

The proof card is some sort of pre-production card used by Topps for something.  I am not exactly sure what their process for making a set of cards is these days, but this card is in there somewhere.  There are some slight differences between this card and the regular issue 1999 Topps Gallery Ray Lankford card.  First, this proof card is actually of the Players Private Issue card, not the base model of the card.  Notice the inscription in the top left-hand corner of the card showing it to be a Private Player Issue.  The Private Player Issue cards were a parallel to the base set which generally ran at one per box with a print run of 250 per card.  Here's a look at a copy of an Albert Belle Private Player Issue:

1999 Topps Gallery Albert Belle Private Players Issue 

The Lankford card and Belle card are nearly identical including the Private Player Issue script in the top left-hand corner of the card.  However, as mentioned before, there are two slight differences between the regular issue and proof issues of these cards.  

First up is the difference in size.  As you can tell, the Lankford card is both taller and wider than the Albert Belle card.  It looks like a huge difference in this picture, and is noticeable when handling the card, but for the sake of storage the proof card does fit inside a regular top loader.  My other proofs, I swear I will put them in a post this week, were big enough to frame and hang on the wall.  

The second difference is in the serial numbers on the back of the card.  The standard issue Belle Private Players Issue features the usual serial number written on the lefthand side of the card with the print run at 250 cards.  The Lankford card however is a proof which means that it is likely a one of a kind card and features.....

Absolutely no serial numbers.  The box for the serial number is on the card if you look carefully.  Very happy with my new Lankford addition.  Though a little bit of an oddball card a really cool and unique find from one of my favorite players.  More proofs and Topps Vault stuff later this week.  


  1. I've always wondered what these proof cards were. I see them every now and then on eBay. Looking forward to seeing your other Topps Vault stuff.

  2. There are all kinds of odd proof cards up at different times. I posted three more proofs tonight that look nothing like this Lankford. I guess Topps does not have one standard production method if the proofs are all different. Right now, they have a bunch of proofs up from the 70s and 80s. Really cool looking. Full color proof, along with a black and white. I need to pick up a few.